By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — It’s December. The season is long. It’s even longer this year. It’ll probably get longer in future years.

In that spirit … maybe the NFL doesn’t produce an A1 story every single week. Maybe there are some down weeks. And maybe this is one of those weeks.

Normally, this space before the picks addresses something major going on in the league. Not this week. This week, we’re going straight to the picks. We could sit here and speculate on coach firings, but that’s no way to spend the holiday season.

We’re just doing picks. So here you go. PICKS.

(Home team in CAPS; Wednesday lines)

MINNESOTA (-3) over Pittsburgh
This matchup is awful. I hate it. I’ll watch every second … but I will not be happy about it. And I will be reading tweets throughout! Take that, NFL.

Baltimore (+2.5) over CLEVELAND
What a strange setup. The Browns lost to the Ravens, hit their bye week, and now … play the Ravens again.

Feels like an advantage for the Browns, whose coaching staff simply never had to stop working on the Ravens over the past three weeks. But also, Cleveland just might not be good enough. Of their six wins, maybe one is impressive. We’ll give them the 41-16 thumping of the Bengals. Sure. OK.

Aside from that, they’ve beaten the Texans, Bears, Vikings, Broncos and Lions. Three of those five wins were one-possession victories, too. They beat the Lions by three.

Seems like the Browns just aren’t as good as so many people thought they’d be.

Seattle (-7.5) over HOUSTON
I wonder if people will go to this game. I mean, I get it. Going to a game is fun, for the most part. But going to this game? There’d have to be a really strong food and beverage incentive to get me to dedicate six to eight hours to this one. Because this game stinks.

TENNESSEE (-9) over Jacksonville
To get an idea of how angry Mike Vrabel was on his bye week, consider this: The man sent a tweet. That is a rare occasion for a guy whose face screams “DO NOT EVER TALK TO ME ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA OR I WILL PUT YOU IN A HEADLOCK AND GIVE YOU A SWIRLIE AND THEN A WET WILLY AND THEN KICK YOU DOWN THE STAIRS.”

Mike Vrabel (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Yet Vrabel sent a tweet, which was seemingly only sent to pick a fight with the NFL for the way it ruled on Travis Kelce’s incompletion, which kind of-maybe-sort of should have been a fumble. If he’s that bothered on a Sunday evening, imagine what kind of hell he’s put his team through these past two weeks, since their loss in New England.

And now you have a punching bag of a franchise coming into Nashville? Woof. Could get ugly.

KANSAS CITY (-8.5) over Las Vegas
I’m not fully aboard the “CHIEFS ARE ALL THE WAY BACK” train like many people are. The reality is, outside of one lopsided victory, they’ve been just OK since Nov. 1. They’ve won five straight, yes, but they’re still miles away from the explosive, dominant team they were for the past few years.

That being said … the one blowout win came in Las Vegas, against the Raiders. A 41-14 affair. I love me a good palindromic final score. (Hey, the Chiefs beat the Patriots 41-14 back in … 2014. How about that?)

The Raiders, who have been through some stuff this year, are 1-4 since their bye week. They’ve lost to the Giants and the Football Teamers. They’re in line to silently peter out for this final month. And the Chiefs will be happy to do what needs to be done.

New Orleans (-5.5) over NEW YORK JETS
Since beating the Bucs, the Saints have been largely noncompetitive. They lost close ones to the Falcons and Titans, but they’ve since lost by an average of 15 points against the Eagles, Bills, and Cowboys. As a result, they’re suffering the indignity of only being 5.5-point favorites at the Jets.

Now, considering the Saints got absolutely waxed in Philly a few weeks ago, they are actually at risk of losing this game. But outside of beating the worst team in football, the Jets have shown little to no sign of heading in any sort of positive direction.

Put it together and … this one can be filed in the “Who wants to attend this game?” category.

CAROLINA (-2.5) over Atlanta
Look, I just want to say, I saw all of your Cam Newton memes since Week 12, and they are not nice. Great job making all of your jokes, Mr. Jokey … Joke-Maker. But he’ll probably be fine against a dreadful pass defense and a bottom-third run defense, at home, after two weeks to prepare. Probably. Then we’ll see your memes, you little memers.

WASHINGTON (+4) over Dallas
The Football Teamers love to just grab opponents by the neck and drag them down into the mud. Nobody can escape. They’ve been underdogs for the past four weeks, and they’ve won all four games outright. The Bucs? Muddied. Panthers? Mud-caked. Seahawks and Raiders? MUD.

That run will end at some point, but sometimes all you need to see the Heinicke Magic happening right in front of your face and let it ride.

DENVER (-7.5) over Detroit
It’s a tale as old time. Team wins its first game of the season in Week 13, suffers immediate letdown in Week 14. Seen it a million times. Sad every time.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-10.5) over New York Giants
This Tom Brady documentary series thing has been going, and while I haven’t seen it, the 2007 episode debuted this week, and it got me thinking. Has the entire purpose of the Giants’ post-millennium existence just been to Mutombo a couple of Lombardis away from Tom Brady and Bill Belichick?

Since losing Super Bowl XXXV to the Ravens, the Giants have won eight total playoff games. All eight of those came in 2007 and 2011, ending with Super Bowl wins over the Patriots. They’ve made the playoffs just five other times since 2001, going one-and-done every single time.

Outside of that, they’ve been borderline irrelevant. They’re on their way to their fourth last-place finish since realignment. They’ve had six third-place finishes in that time, too.

All of this is to say, I don’t have much to say about the 2021 New York Giants.

CINCINNATI (+1) over San Francisco
When the 49ers rush for less than 117 yards, they are 0-4. When the 49ers rush for 143 or fewer yards, they are 2-5.

The Bengals have allowed more than 140 rushing yards just once all year. They’ve held opponents under 117 rushing yards eight times.

If they can stop the Niners on the ground, they will beat the Niners.

TAMPA BAY (-3) over Buffalo
The cruelest fate imaginable. The Bills and their fans finally saw Tom Brady leave the division, after he absolutely tormented them for two decades. He went 32-3 against them. He stole their souls. He won more games in Buffalo than any Bills quarterback did in the 21st century. It was just mean.

Brady leaves, and the Bills immediately win the AFC East. Granted, nobody can attend the game when they beat the Patriots in Buffalo, but they’re happy in their basements nonetheless. Their Super Bowl dreams are dashed by the Chiefs … but that also spared them from losing to Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.

Now a year later, everything’s falling apart. They’re 7-5, they just got absolutely worked by Bill Belichick on national TV, and now on a short week, with a chance to save their season and get things back on track, they have to face … Thomas Edwards Patrick Brady Jr.

That. Is. Cruel.

(Bucs by 30.)

GREEN BAY (-12.5) over Chicago
Normally, the Bears being in prime time would be a reason to groan. But at this point of the season, you just have to appreciate a Sunday night game where you can conk out by halftime. It’s a long season. Gotta get your rest.

ARIZONA (-2.5) over Los Angeles Rams
I’ve got this thing going on where I’m just hesitant to buy all the way in on the Arizona Cardinals. Yes, I saw the freaking Tampa Bay Buccaneers win a Super Bowl last year, but that required the greatest player of all time. When it comes to woebegone sports franchises, that level of infusion of anti-suck is needed in order to elevate a team to real championship status.

However … the Rams are frauds. They’ve won eight games, which is neat and all. The combined winning percentage of those opponents, though, is .345. That is the lowest strength of victory out of any team currently in the playoffs in either conference. It’s lower than every AFC team except the Colts, and it’s the third-lowest mark in the NFC.

We know now that their win over the Bucs was a complete anomaly, a false indicator of the team’s actual ability. Their wins over Jacksonville, Houston, Detroit, New York (Giants), Seattle, Indianapolis and Chicago won’t help them win games against teams that are actually good. And the Cardinals, despite their hapless history, are actually good.

So dial up another prime-time game where the broadcast team acts befuddled when Sean McVay’s team once again gets outplayed by a legitimate football team.

Last week: 10-4
Season: 111-82-1

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.